Our own worst enemy

As I read the paper this morning, I became a bit agitated at the article “Slower Job Losses Lift Hope”.  While the author did try to paint a positive picture (or at least one not so dreadful as we have been hearing lately),  the conclusion was that while people (and people are the main component in companies) believe we are at or near the bottom there is little indication that companies will begin to hire until they are certain business is improving.

The problem I have with this is this.  I know this may be oversimplified BUT it is still fundamentally our reality.  The situation will not improve until we take actions that will improve it!  If the media continues to print stories that say things are bad and people continue to read the stories that things are bad and those same people continue to behave in a way that reflects the thinking that things are bad and companies react in a way that indicates they believe things are bad…THINGS WILL REMAIN BAD!  The only thing that will change our reality is if we change our actions that reflect a different belief.  If we all wait for proof that things are getting better, how will they get better?  Think about it.  At the core of the issue is consumer confidence.

Here is the process:

  1. People begin to believe that the economy is unstable so we change our buying habits and begin pulling back.
  2. Companies now begin to see the impact of this and begin to ratchet down their forecasts and plans for the near future.
  3. The media begins to report that businesses are altering their forecasts and also let us know that the economists are seeing indications of a looming recession.  (By the way, it is a funny thing that all forecasts are based on historical data…we predict the future by looking at the past???)
  4. The general public begins to get very skittish and puts an even tighter grip on their collective wallets.
  5. Businesses are now in a mild panic and go into “expense control” and layoffs begin.
  6. The media reports massive layoffs…
  7. …and the death spiral continues

At the root of this issue is the misconception that “other people” are responsible for the results we see when the reality is that it is the collective actions of each of us that create our reality.  Walt Kelly said it best with his Pogo cartoon –


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